In the midst of protests and repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called a meeting of the Rules Committee on Friday to explore how the situation can be improved.
Mahajan met leaders from various parties on Thursday to share her view and discuss what could be done. Sources said that Mahajan told the leaders that the image of the House was taking a hit, and it was being seen by people as a place where only ruckus happened.
The leaders included Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Narendra Singh Tomar, his deputy Arjun Ram Meghwal, Deputy Speaker M Thambi Durai (AIADMK),Congress leader in the House Mallikarjun Kharge and his party colleague K C Venugopal, Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC), Mohammad Salim (CPI-M), N K Premachandran (RSP), Supriya Sule and Dhananjay Mahadik (NCP), Gajanan Kirtikar (Shiv Sena) and BJP whip Anurag Thakur.
The Rules Committee, headed by the Speaker, comprises 14 people with one vacancy. They include Ganesh Singh, Nishikant Dubey and Anurag Thakur (BJP), Mahtab, Saugata Roy (TMC) and Shashi Tharoor (Congress).
The winter session, the last full-fledged session for the incumbent Narendra Modi government, has been witnessing forced daily adjournments of the House since December 12. Members from various parties have been walking into the well, displaying placards, shouting slogans and obstructing proceedings. Their demands range from constitution of a joint parliamentary committee to probe the Rafale deal to a special package for Andhra Pradesh.
The show of placards, even though violative of Rules for Conduct of Business and Procedure, is not unprecedented. Nor is the disruption of proceedings through slogan-shouting in the well.
Article 118(1) of the Constitution provides that each House of Parliament may make rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of its business. On April 1, 1950, the Speaker made an announcement in the House regarding appointment of a committee to examine suggestions that might be received from members from time to time for amendment of the Rules. The Rules Committee, so set up, functioned as an advisory body to the Speaker. In September 1954, the Rules Committee decided that their recommendations be approved by the House before amendments were brought into effect.
The committee considers matters of procedure and conduct of business and makes recommendations for any amendment or addition to the Rules. A proposal for an amendment to the rules can be made by any member of the House or by the presiding officer or committee. The proposals, after being examined by the Lok Sabha Secretariat and after approval by the Chairperson (Speaker), are placed before the Committee for consideration in the form of memoranda.